There were no ‘hey-hey, ho-ho’ chants and no long speeches as workers from around the world marched for pay equity as they weaved through a giant amusement park near the venue of the 100th anniversary world congress of Public Services International yesterday.
Several hundred delegates joined the march to create awareness about pay inequities based on gender, race, disability and the status of migrant workers. It was also a fundraising event for a pay equity project in India.
Delegates and their unions were encouraged to sponsor marchers through a financial pledge. The money will support a campaign for the rights of child care workers in India who detect health care problems, provide supplementary feeding for malnourished children and distribute food rations.
The workers “work up to 10 hours per day but the state government does not recognize them as public employees and gives them a small stipend that is well below the minimum wage,” said the world congress newsletter.
PSI condemns Myanmar regime, supports protests
The PSI world congress adopted an emergency resolution yesterday condemning the Myanmar military regime and supporting the protests being led by Buddhist monks.
“The world should not stand aside, but act towards a free and democratic Myanmar,” a statement said, adding that PSI “demands the government’s immediate compliance with all ILO conventions and [that it] respect basic rights for workers and trade unions.”
The congress also “expressed its solidarity with the people and workers from Myanmar in these difficult days.”
CUPE delegates attend privatization, rights workshops
One of the two main workshops held yesterday focused on municipal services with participants agreeing that unions can help achieve the United Nations’ millennium development goals.
Echoing the theme of the recently launched CUPE-Oxfam campaign against poverty, the workshop noted that “quality public services are the best sustainable alternative to poverty. They added that “these services should be immune to privatization.”
The other main workshop decried the exploitation of migrant workers and called for an end to the growing health care crisis in developing countries. “The migration of health professionals is undermining efforts to meet millennium development goals,” participants said.
CUPE delegates also attended workshops on labour and human rights, the future of unions, outsourcing and privatized groups, and women and young unionists.
Denmark’s Waldorf elected to head PSI
Peter Waldorf from Denmark was elected PSI’s new general secretary in the election held yesterday.